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New York State Celebrates Foster Care Families With Free Empire Passes for 2019

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) are celebrating foster families by inviting them to explore the outdoors and visit state parks this summer. May is Foster Care Month, and State Parks and OCFS are showing their appreciation by providing 500 foster families an Empire Pass to enjoy New York State Parks all season long. The Empire Pass provides for day-use vehicle entry to state parks and many other state recreation facilities for the calendar year.

“New York’s state parks offer countless opportunities to enjoy nature and outdoor recreation with the family,” said acting State Parks Commissioner Eric Kulleseid. “We are proud to partner once again with OCFS to show our appreciation for foster families by providing them an opportunity to bond and be active together outdoors through an Empire Pass.”

There are approximately 15,000 children living in foster family homes throughout New York State. These families undergo foster parent training and open their homes to children to provide a safe, stable, and nurturing environment. Being placed in foster care can be a tumultuous time for a child, and foster families help these children cope and thrive.

Foster families’ use of the state parks and historic sites can include day trips with swimming, biking, hiking, boating, vacation activities, and camping trips that can strengthen the bond between family members, build positive shared memories that can help children and adults manage stress, and allow personal growth through exposure to new environments and learning about new places.

“OCFS is grateful to all of the foster parents who open their homes and their hearts to a child who needs a loving and nurturing environment,” said OCFS acting Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “We thank State Parks for making this opportunity available to both show our appreciation and offer our foster families opportunities to enjoy some sun and fun and establish happy memories to last a lifetime.”

In New York State, the child welfare system is supervised by OCFS and directly administered by local departments of social services.

About OCFS:
OCFS serves New York by promoting the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, families, and communities. OCFS maintains an active social media presence. “Like” the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Facebook page and follow @NYSOCFS on Twitter in English or the Spanish-language Twitter account, @NYSOCFS Espanol.

About State Parks:
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 72 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit parks.ny.gov, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.